MOUNT GILEAD — The Mount Gilead School Board met Thursday, Aug. 27 and approved a new face covering policy, as well as approving an agreement with the Mount Gilead Teachers Association and beginning the plans to search for a new district superintendent.
The district will open with in-school classes — as long as the county remains in the yellow designation level — with the option of online learning. The soft opening for students A-G is Sept. 9, for students H-N is Sept. 10 and for O-Z Sept. 11.
Students’ first day with everyone together is Sept. 14.
The board began the meeting with a90-minute executive session to begin plans to search for the district superintendent. The board met with two representatives from K-12 Recruitment Group to decide on a timeline and steps to seek a new superintendent.
Interim Superintendent, Larry Zimmerman received a one-year contract from the board in July. Zimmerman retired from the Marysville school district after 40 years and served Mount Gilead district as Interim Superintendent through school year 2019-2020.
In other business:
• The board unanimously approved a face covering policy that calls for every teacher, staff member to wear a face mask and strongly recommends a face covering for students in grades 3-12 with some exceptions noted for several circumstances.
Zimmerman said that Gov. Mike DeWine’s mandate for everyone in the state to wear a face covering supersedes the school policy now and as long as it is in effect. The state still requires every school district to have its own face covering policy.
The policy states in part, “All school staff members must wear a face covering made of cloth/fabric that covers the employee’s nose, mouth, and chin, unless covered by an exception recognized by the Ohio Department of Health…
“All students from third through twelfth grade are strongly recommended to wear face coverings, unless unable to do so for a health or developmental reason, at all times students are on school property or participating in school related activities, including in hallways and common areas, except as set forth below. … Students K-12 are required to wear face coverings when being transported on a school district bus, unless unable to do so for a health or developmental reason. Exception: The face covering recommendation does not apply when the student is eating.”
School Board member Virgil Staley asked if face shields are an option. Zimmerman said no, but there are also some instances where face shields can be used if there is a medical provision; or in classes such as language and speech therapy where it is necessary to see people’s expressions and mouth.
• A service contract was approved with Treca Digital Academy for online courses for some 59-60 high school students who have chosen remote learning during the pandemic. Zimmerman noted that they will still keep the status of Mount Gilead High School students while using the online option.
Board member Brandie Salisbury said parents have asked her if it is still possible to register for remote classes. Zimmerman answered yes, and that they must do it soon so that preparations for remote learning can be finalized.
• The board approved the agreement presented by the Mount Gilead Teachers Association with Association President Jennifer Hensley at the meeting to answer questions. The agreement is for three school years from 2020 through 2023 and includes a base salary increase of two percent per year over three years. Teachers will receive step progression each school year.
• District Treasurer Tina Gabler reported on two grants received by the district. She thanked Emily Ross for her work in obtaining a K-12 Prevention Funding (State Grant) of $28,345. The district will also receive a Coronavirus Relief grant in the amount of $63,074.69.
• The board also approved Gabler’s recommendation for membership to META Purchasing Cooperative and the resolution for bids to purchase buses.
Gabler thanked Candace Irwin on behalf of the district for her donation of 500 masks for the Middle School and High School. Zimmerman thanked the dozen staff and parents who worked diligently this summer with administrators on the task force for the school year preparation.
• Music Booster member Kenny Hutchinson reported that the band’s Disney trip was postponed until spring and may be cancelled. He asked if the band will be marching at football games. Zimmerman replied they are waiting on the final word from the OHSAA and the governor.
Complete details on school reopening, the face covering policy and other district information is on the district website at www.mgschools.org